On a late January trip to Logan, Utah, San Diego’s State’s basketball team got a career night from guard Xavier Thames, and it needed it. Thames scored 21 points against Utah State in regulation, enough to get the Aztecs to overtime, during which Thames tacked on another 10 to hand the Aggies a rare home loss. On Tuesday night at Viejas Arena, with seven minutes remaining in the first half, Thames had this many points: 0. And the Aztecs were in total control of the Aggies, dominating from one end to the other. Coach Steve Fisher likes his team’s depth, and few games this season was it more emphatically evident than in a 60-45 rout of Utah State. Seven players for the No. 6/7 Aztecs (23-2 overall, 12-1 Mountain West) scored points. In the first half. All eight who played before mop-up duty scored in the game. It says a lot about the way this one went that the team’s No. 1 and 2 scorers, Thames and Winston Shepard, combined for eight points – four apiece. Thames had only been held in single digits two others times this season. The unlikely star was redshirt freshman forward Matt Shrigley, who scored a career-high 15 points. The La Costa Canyon High alum tied a career best by nailing four 3-pointers, his trio of 3s in the first half being a big part of giving SDSU the early momentum. After getting consistent playing time in the non-conference portion of the season, Shrigley had been limited in minutes and baskets, scoring a total of 15 points in the seven games leading up to Tuesday. He season scoring average: 5.2 . “I feel every game that you come in with the same mindset,” Shrigley said. “Obviously, I made some baskets tonight, so the confidence goes up. I was more in the flow of the game. It just kind of happened.” Beyond Shrigley, the Aztecs got 12 points from Josh Davis, along with his eight rebounds, and 10 from Skylar Spencer, who had four blocks – a couple spectacular enough to bring the sellout crowd to its feet. In one of their strongest defensive efforts of late, the Aztecs limited the Aggies to 34-percent field-goal shooting while making six steals and forcing 15 turnovers. In the first meeting, “For the last two games we’ve been back on our defense,” Thames said. Said Fisher, “This was a good win against a good team that didn’t play well tonight, and we had a lot to do with it.” Maybe it was the late, 8 p.m. start that had the Aztecs keyed up, or the building anticipation for Saturday’s Mountain West showdown at New Mexico, but SDSU was energetic on offense and smothering on defense from the start. This one was all but over by halftime, with SDSU holding a 13-point lead, 35-22 – its largest advantage after the first 20 minutes in eight games dating to a 14-point lead over UNLV.
SDSU shows its depth in rout of Utah St.
San Diego Union-Tribune | Feb 19